As early as 1726, satirist Jonathan Swift had pointed to the pressure of meeting human demands on the environment in what is arguably his best work, Gulliver’s Travels. Nearly three centuries later, the problem has intensified.
According to the latest World Wide Fund for Nature Living Planet Report, humanity’s current “ecological footprint”—or impact on the earth’s services—exceeds the planet’s regenerative capacity by about 30%. The report adds that if the present scenario prevails, “by the early 2030s we will need two planets to keep up with humanity’s demand for goods and services”.
India’s footprint, at 2.2 times its biocapacity—the potential of its living resources to supply the demands made by its population—is only marginally lower than China’s, at 2.3 times, but more than the US’, at 1.8 times. This, despite the fact that all three feature in the list of eight countries that account for 50% of the world’s total biocapacity.
Time humanity paid heed to Swift’s message, one he was branded a misanthrope for.